Construction firms embrace diversity at national conference
The changing face of the construction industry was under the spotlight at Scotland’s first national diversity conference.
At the inaugural event, hosted this week by The Herald and GenAnalytics at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow, City Building operations manager Siobhan Logue spoke of her successful career at the firm in the traditionally male-dominated industry.
Siobhan left school aged 16 interested in a career in construction. After attending college, Siobhan began a four-year plumbing apprenticeship and once qualified, was given the opportunity by City Building to complete a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction Management.
With the practical skills to work on a construction site and the academic knowledge to move into management, an opportunity arose within City Building to undertake a trainee management course and progress through the company.
Siobhan, now fully-qualified, is managing the refurbishment and construction works of a number of Glasgow’s primary schools, including the £2.4 million Saint Brides Primary project, the £1.5m project at Langside Primary and £1.4m Holycross Primary School refurbishment.
Siobhan said: “I loved working on construction sites and seeing a project emerging from the ground to completion. When the opportunity arose to move to management, I had only been a tradesperson for two years. To take the course I had to take a drop in pay, but on balance felt the opportunities to progress would be better, and I would benefit in the future.
“Now, managing the primary school projects truly gives me fulfilment. Seeing the kids and teachers faces when they return to school after the holidays gives me a real sense of achievement.
“My journey is not unusual and as more women enter the industry, together, we can change male-dominated image of construction. With the support of City Building and through sheer determination I believe there is no limit to my future in City Building, and I would encourage any woman to consider a career in construction.”
Dr Graham Paterson, executive director of City Building, said: “Siobhan is a fantastic example of how people can progress at City Building, whatever their gender. We’re incredibly proud to be part of Siobhan’s development and will continue to work with her as she climbs the career ladder.
“We aim to build a sustainable future, which includes minimising the skills gap through training and welcoming anyone, male or female, interested in building a career in construction.”
Taylor Wimpey West Scotland also played a key role at the event as a team from the homebuilder joined the conversation which aims to recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion within business and the impact, as well as the potential, this can have on the communities and wider economy.
Discussion, debate and contributions included The Equality Agenda in Scotland, driving diversity through regeneration as well as the importance of recognising diversity within employment and skills.
A member of Taylor Wimpey’s Young Persons’ Forum – Anne Kerr, sales administrator for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland – took part in a Young Panel discussion around ‘What Diversity Means to Me’ giving members of the audience the opportunity to hear about the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion from a young person’s perspective.
Taylor Wimpey said that being involved in The Herald Diversity Conference recognises the importance the firm has placed on diversity and inclusion within its business and the opportunity that it creates for the wider housebuilding industry.
Willie Burns, managing director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, added: “Following our successful involvement in the inaugural Herald / GenAnalytics Diversity Awards last year, we are delighted to have extended our partnership with them to play a key role as sponsor and participant in Scotland’s first Diversity Conference.
“We aim to be an inclusive company which values people as individuals and creates a workforce that reflects the diversity of the local communities where we build new homes, so we are delighted to have this opportunity to play our role in embracing diversity and inclusion within businesses in Scotland.
“The conference has given us a great opportunity to be part of the conversation with other organisations that are as equally committed to diversity and inclusion as Taylor Wimpey and the positive benefits that they bring to our collective businesses.”
Taylor Wimpey West Scotland also confirmed it will once again be a key sponsor at this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards in October.